Iraq Flag Icon

Iraq Country Guide

Explore Iraq in Asia

Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service has marked this country as DO NOT TRAVEL. This means that travelling this country can result in potentially life-threatening situations! If you really have to go: Check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Iraq with the capital city Baghdad is located in Asia (Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf). It covers some 437,073 square kilometres (slightly more than twice the size of Idaho) with 28,221,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Iraq

The landscape offers mostly broad plains with reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas and mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey. The average density of population is approximately 65 per km². The notable climate conditions in Iraq can be described as mostly desert with mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers, northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq. Potential threats by nature are dust storms or sandstorms or floods.

To reach someone in Iraq dial +964 prior to a number. There are 1,108,000 installed telephones. And there are 19,722,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".iq". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Iraq

Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great") in green Arabic script is centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white); the Council of Representatives approved this flag in 2008 as a compromise temporary replacement for the Ba'athist Saddam-era flag
note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two stars but no script, Yemen, which has a plain white band, and that of Egypt, which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band.

Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Britain during the course of World War I; in 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last was SADDAM Husayn. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. US forces remained in Iraq under a UNSC mandate through 2009 and under a bilateral security agreement thereafter, helping to provide security and to train and mentor Iraqi security forces. In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and, pursuant to this document, elected a 275-member Council of Representatives (COR) in December 2005. The COR approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to Iraq''s first constitutional government in nearly a half century. In January 2009, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates except for the three governorates comprising the Kurdistan Regional Government and Kirkuk Governorate. Iraq held a national legislative election in March 2010 - choosing 325 legislators in an expanded COR - and, after nine months of deadlock the COR approved the new government in December 2010. Nearly nine years after the start of the Second Gulf War in Iraq, US military operations there ended in mid-December 2011.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Asia
Neighbours: Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, Kuwait
Capital: Baghdad
Size 437,072 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 168,754 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly more than twice the size of Idaho
Population 28,221,000
Currency Name: Dinar, Currency Code: IQD
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .iq
Telephone Country Prefix +964
Mobile Phone Connections 19,722,000
Landline Phone Connections 1,108,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 438,317 (sq km) 59

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 31,858,481 39
Population growth rate 2.29 (%) 38
Birth rate 27.51 (births/1,000 population) 45
Death rate 4.65 (deaths/1,000 population) 196
Maternal mortality rate 63.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 96
Infant mortality rate 38.86 (deaths/1,000 live births) 62
Life expectancy at birth 71.14 (years) 147
Total fertility rate 3.50 (children born/woman) 46
Health expenditures 8.40 (% of GDP) 53
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.10 (%) 135
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 500 151
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 27.00 (%) 42
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 7.10 (%) 75


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 242,500,000,000 53
GDP - real growth rate 8.40 (%) 15
GDP - per capita (PPP) 7,200 141
Labor force 8,900,000 54
Unemployment rate 16.00 (%) 150
Investment (gross fixed) 10.10 (% of GDP) 147
Taxes and other revenues 49.1 (% of GDP) 16
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 4.50 (% of GDP) 16
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6.40 (%) 169
Central bank discount rate 6.00 (%) 59
Commercial bank prime lending rate 14.35 (%) 53
Stock of narrow money 62,190,000,000 43
Stock of broad money 71,480,000,000 61
Stock of domestic credit 1,779,000,000 141
Market value of publicly traded shares 2,600,000,000 93
Industrial production growth rate 4.80 (%) 64
Current account balance 20,630,000,000 17
Exports 88,270,000,000 44
Imports 56,890,000,000 52
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 61,840,000,000 32
Debt - external 50,260,000,000 62


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 47,400,000,000 (kWh) 53
Electricity - consumption 35,120,000,000 (kWh) 57
Electricity - imports 12,280,000,000 (kWh) 16
Electricity - installed generating capacity 10110000 (kW) 56
Electricity - from fossil fuels 69.0 (% of total installed capacity) 110
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 31.0 (% of total installed capacity) 73
Crude oil - production 2,900,000 (bbl/day) 10
Crude oil - exports 2,600,000 (bbl/day) 4
Crude oil - proved reserves 143100000000 (bbl) 6
Refined petroleum products - production 410,500 (bbl/day) 38
Refined petroleum products - consumption 818,000 (bbl/day) 23
Refined petroleum products - imports 144,100 (bbl/day) 40
Natural gas - production 1,303,000,000 (cu m) 63
Natural gas - consumption 1,300,000,000 (cu m) 85
Natural gas - proved reserves 3,171,000,000,000 (cu m) 14
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 118,300,000 (Mt) 36


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 1,794,000 62
Telephones - mobile cellular 27,000,000 38
Internet hosts 26 219
Internet users 325,900 126


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 104 54
Railways 2,272 (km) 66
Roadways 44,900 (km) 81
Waterways 5,279 (km) 23
Merchant marine 2 142


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 8.60 (% of GDP) 6

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat)
The ancient city of Ashur is located on the Tigris River in northern Mesopotamia in a specific geo-ecological zone, at the borderline between rain-fed and irrigation agriculture. The city dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. From the 14th to the 9th ...
Erbil Citadel
Erbil Citadel is a fortified settlement on top of an imposing ovoid-shaped tell (a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot) in the Kurdistan region, Erbil Governorate. A continuous wall of tall 19th-century f ...
A large fortified city under the influence of the Parthian Empire and capital of the first Arab Kingdom, Hatra withstood invasions by the Romans in A.D. 116 and 198 thanks to its high, thick walls reinforced by towers. The remains of the city, especi ...
Samarra Archaeological City
Samarra Archaeological City is the site of a powerful Islamic capital city that ruled over the provinces of the Abbasid Empire extending from Tunisia to Central Asia for a century. Located on both sides of the River Tigris 130 km north of Baghdad, th ...